The New Jersey Foster Parent Association (NJFPA, now Foster and Adoptive Family Services or FAFS) began in a foster parent’s home in Middlesex County, New Jersey in the early 1970s. As the need for advocacy grew, FAFS obtained a contract from the state and eventually moved from New Brunswick to Trenton, New Jersey. This brought the NJFPA in closer proximity to the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), which is now known as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). A lot of progression has occurred since then. However, with the transition of FAFS and the many changes that have occurred it rings true that with change, the mission remains the same.
FAFS was headquartered in Trenton throughout the 1980s before returning to its permanent home in Middlesex County in 1994. Sue Dondiego, one of FAFS’ founders noted, “From its humble beginnings as an all volunteer organization to the present day, FAFS has focused their time, talents and hard work to develop programs, projects and activities that would improve the lives of resource parents and the children in their care.” What started with just a handful of people in 1974 has developed into an organization of many people with the talents and backgrounds that form the thriving group FAFS is today. Continue reading
For a long time, resource family rates in New Jersey were stagnant and did not correlate with the actual cost of raising a child. But with the help of FAFS and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, rates are now linked to the USDA and are updated annually.
We have a story we like to tell here at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.
It involves our co-founder Sue Dondiego. She was standing before the Legislature at the State House in Trenton in the 1970s to fight for increased resource family rates. At the time, the monthly clothing allowance for a child in foster care was about equal to one-third of the price of a new children’s coat. Continue reading
The word orphanage often conjures up images of raggedy Oliver Twist and Annie in destitute surroundings with scores of poor children, but the institution holds a vital place in the history of caring for foster children dating back to the late 19th century.
During a time when few options existed, orphanages housed and cared for children who were abandoned or whose parents were temporarily unable to care for them. Continue reading
To access closed adoption birth records or to not access closed adoption birth records. That has certainly been a question for many decades among those it affects the most – adoptees, the families that have adopted them and birth parents. There has been a divide of opinion on this topic to say the least. On one hand, birth parents that have decided they want to keep their identity a secret have most likely done so because they wanted protection. Continue reading
In 2003, a harrowing case of a seven-year-old, Faheem Williams, found dead and his brothers found neglected and malnourished in a Newark home sparked a flame that fueled an ongoing lawsuit and began a reform for child welfare in New Jersey. This heartbreaking story of abuse rang so loud, it caught the attention of then Governor James E. McGreevey who mandated the state to go through an extensive review of Division of Youth and Family Services’ (DYFS) practices. Later that year was another case involving four brothers in Collingswood New Jersey who, after a history of being in foster care, were adopted. They were later found to be highly malnourished and neglected by their adoptive parents. The children were removed from their home and the surviving adoptive mother was sent to prison. Continue reading